Many of us build a professional network on LinkedIn because we’ve been told it’s a good thing to do. We dabble at it, like a hobby. We don’t take this social platform seriously. Our list of LinkedIn Connections is static: nothing more than an internet form of Rolodex files which sit out there on the Cloud. The more Connections we have, the bigger the network we think we have.
Let’s drill down on your perspective.
Regardless of how much – or little – work you put into cultivating your LinkedIn Network, you consider it as your resource. However, most folks don’t call on their network to help them out until they “need” their network to come through for them. Did you lose your job? Are you prospecting a hot company and don’t know any of the key decision makers? Relocating to a new region? Perhaps you are one of those folks who come out of the networking woodwork every 6-12 months. asking everyone for leads and references Ready-Fire-Aim style.
If this sounds like how you use LinkedIn, you may want to rethink your strategy. Most of your network may not know who you are, in the first place. They certainly don’t feel obligated to assist you.
Why? You haven’t developed your professional network. You’ve merely collected people.
Jill Konrath and Ardath Albee just published their compelling and insightful survey about what separates the power users of LinkedIn from the rest of the folks. Click here to download your copy.
For top business development and technical professionals and entrepreneurs, networking on LinkedIn is a powerful business tool. Utilizing the breadth and depth of LinkedIn for networking should become part of your daily professional habits. You keep in touch with your network – even when you don’t “need” them – so that when you do call on your network, they have your back.
Do you share updates or articles you have read with your Network? If you blog, like I do, your Network is a tremendous source of both inspiration and feedback. Your Network allows you to keep your fingers on the pulse of what’s going on in your industry.
“LinkedIn is a great place to share industry-relevant content. By doing so, it enhances our business credibility.” (Konrath-Albee LinkedIn Study, p9)
How many of you participate in more than 10 LinkedIn groups? LinkedIn discussion groups are an excellent means of conducting qualitative research for your venture. What are folks in your domain area talking about? What companies do they work with? Are their opinions similar to yours or are you seeing things differently by reading and possibly participating in these discussion forums?
The number of LinkedIn discussion groups is now over 1,194,668. (Quora, 2013, Feb. 11, 2012) That’s a lot of information for you to access, if you take the time. LinkedIn groups become part of your professional network. There’s quite a discrepancy in level of participation in LinkedIn groups, however, between active and passive users.
According to the Konrath-Albee study findings, “…if you only measure for active participation, 18.7% of top sellers frequently contribute to groups … In fact, 44.8% of the others simply observe or lurk while 14.4% of them never engage with the groups – even if they belong to them.” (Konrath-Albee LinkedIn Study, p10)
Do you recognize your own LinkedIn habits in this quote?
If you expect your LinkedIn network to come through for you, put in the time to develop them. The Konrath-Albee study offers some stunning comparisons between active and passive users, and the comparative business and professional development results accrued. Download the report and find out where you currently rate on LinkedIn.
Then do something about it. Today.
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers, LLC, catalyzes revenue-producing business transition, startup growth and professional development, one millimeter at a time. She works with manufacturing and engineering firms and small business entrepreneurships.